Match Preview SuperCoppa

Juventus vs Milan Supercoppa Match Preview and Scouting

December 21, 2016 - 7:28 pm


Juventus v AC Milan

SuperCoppa –  Friday, 23rd December – 16:30 GMT – Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium



Juventus once again prevailed last Saturday, defeating the most credible Scudetto rival Roma thanks to an early goal by Gonzalo Higuain. A victory that stretches the gap from the closest pursuer to seven points: a safe advantage that we will probably be able to widen even further by the time Champions League football returns and it’ll allow the coach to manage the energies.

Once again, it was not a perfect performance by the Old Lady, but it was enough to best the opponent. The approach was great, with the right level of intensity and capped off by a gem by Higuain. Juventus outmatched Roma in the first half an hour and that proved to be the deciding factor. The Giallorossi tried to react and played much better in the second half, putting on a siege in the final stages of the game, but the defence stood tall and allowed good chances only on set pieces.

Two players stood out. Daniele Rugani had an incredible performance: he blanketed Edin Dzeko and at times showed a level of emotions we are not used to seeing from the defender. He was in the zone. Stefano Sturaro battled all night long with more decorated players like Radja Nainggolan, Daniele De Rossi and Kevin Strootman and proved why he is simply the right guy to field in certain games. He brings a level of grit of physicality that is unmatched by the other midfielders. It was very nice to see two youngsters who will be here for the long run step up in a big game after signing lengthy extensions.

The final game of 2016 will be the Supercoppa in Doha against Milan: of course finals are always a little wonky but I am sure the squad will not underestimate the game after being defeated by the Rossoneri in Serie A. Lifting the trophy would be the ideal way to close a successful year.

Juventus are dealing with two significant injury concerns: they are not heavy problems, but they impact the scheme. Stephan Lichtsteiner and Miralem Pjanic left the Roma game with apparent ailments, but both travelled to Qatar. It looks like it was just a bruise for the midfielder, who should be ready to play, while the situation is a little murkier for the fullback.

Since Dani Alves is out with a fractured fibula, Lichtsteiner is the only true right back available and his absence would pretty much force Massimiliano Allegri to switch back to 3-5-2 or to come up with a creative solution. Medhi Benatia has some experience in that position from his Udinese stint and Andrea Barzagli has played there from time to time, but always with Juan Cuadrado in front of him in a hybrid 4-4-2, so he had never had to cover the whole length of the flank, like it would be the case with a diamond formation. Cuadrado was used in the defence against Dinamo Zagreb, but that was not a real game and it would be extremely gutsy to repeat the experiment against a fiery opponent.

Therefore, until there are more clarity about Lichtsteiner, 3-5-2 is the frontrunner and the deficit in creativity caused by moving Pjanic back in the midfield could be compensated by inserting Paulo Dybala in the starting lineup. The Argentinian has yet to play a full half since his return, but he is now two weeks removed from being deemed fully healthy and should have at least an hour in his legs. Also, at this point, I think it is easier to sub him off rather than Mario Mandzukic or Higuain. Of course, should Lichtsteiner be ready, Allegri would go with 4-3-1-2, with Sturaro in the midfield and Cuadrado initially on the bench.

UPDATE: Lichtsteiner’s conditions remain up in the air, but it looks like that, if he’s ready to go, Allegri will use 4-3-1-2 anyway with Barzagli or Benatia as RB. Barzagli has an edge over Rugani to start as CB as well.

Probable lineup: 

3-5-2: Buffon; Rugani, Barzagli, Chiellini; Cuadrado, Khedira, Marchisio, Pjanic, Sandro; Dybala, Higuain. 


Bonucci (hamstring),  Alves (fibula), Mandragora (foot). 





AC Milan

After a couple of very good months, Milan have tailed off a little bit in the last two games and have dropped to the fifth position in the standings. The loss, somewhat underserved, against Roma probably rocked their confidence a little bit and then they were unable to perform at their best against the always dangerous Atalanta. Two costly stumbles that allowed Napoli and Lazio to leapfrog them.

In Serie A, Milan caught Juventus at the right time, after a demanding midweek away game against Olympique Lyonnais. They played us tough, like they do with everybody, and capitalized on a stunner by Manuel Locatelli. They are not much different now from the team that we faced us in late October, and maybe the lack of improvements is what made them drop some points along the way.

The noticeable change is the emergence of Mario Pasalic, who is pretty raw but has the tools to develop into a complete midfielder, and the wane of Mbaye Niang, who has momentarily lost his starting position. It looks like Giacomo Bonaventura will move from the midfield to the attack, with either Andrea Bertolacci or Pasalic in the midfield and Niang on the bench. Bonaventura does not have a lot of speed in his game, but he is a playmaker no matter where he plays and the team always tends to gravitate around him. Suso has also come along in a big way, so Milan will have two very dangerous wingers on the pitch. Even if he does not start, Niang could be a nice weapon off the bench even though he is underperforming as of late.

Gianluca Lapadula has taken advantage of a minor injury to Carlos Bacca to gain some starts and he has been pretty good, although feeding the striker remains a problem for this squad as they seem to be unable to create clear-cut chances for its center-forward. One or two balls in the box is not always enough for a striker to score, even though Bacca and Lapadula are both very cynical. It looks like the Colombian will reclaim his spot in the XI in this one.

Andrea Bertolacci relieved Locatelli in the heart of the midfield in the last game, but that is not his best position: maybe in January they will have to find an alternative to Locatelli, who is excellent for being a 18-years-old rookie, but really does not possess any quality that stands out besides his shooting ability. However, Bertolacci has done enough to challenge Pasalic for the starting job as box-to-box midfielder, and is also way more experienced, should Bonaventura be advanced. Luca Antonelli has returned from a long absence and he could supplant the starter Mattia De Sciglio at left back.

Probable lineup: 

4-3-3: Donnarumma; Abate, Paletta, Romagnoli, De Sciglio; Kucka, Locatelli, Bertolacci; Suso, Bacca, Bonaventura. 


Calabria (ankle). 





You Might Also Like

  • Avatar
    Moderator December 21, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Great preview as alays from Enrico – Really hope we play on the front foot in this game, get an early goal or two then switch up if needed. Would love to end this year with another trophy for the mister who’s had to endure a truck load of shit during the last few years. I do love it when he silences his detractors 😉

    In other news, Rodrigo Betancur has confirmed he’s joining Juventus…..

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet December 22, 2016 at 10:31 am

      Indeed, a sound preview, and welcome praise for Rugani and especially Sturaro.

      Bentacur indeed appears an interesting signing. Though I do wonder if he will make it into the first team squad for next season. Or whether he will be sent out on loan. I am more focused on the present and near future. In terms of new recruits, that means Witsel. Who we have no glaring need for,but would certainly add some extra quality to the midfield. I just hope if he comes, his inclusion will not come at the expense of Sturaro…And the same can be broached with Barzagli fit and Bonucci also to return in the new year vis-a-vis Rugani.

      We are a different team to the one which lost to AC earlier this season. And I expect a different performance, namely one of more confidence, guile and potency.

    • Avatar
      Dar Black December 22, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      We do appear to be stocking up on players that you can’t see where they are going to fit in or who is making way. This guy Betancur looks ok from the vids, but nothing more. But he was scouted by Man U and Arsenal so he must be decent enough.

  • Avatar
    ho Hi December 23, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Wow Sandro!!

  • Avatar
    B1anconer0 December 23, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    It really bothers me that juve are in full control but still decide to sit back after they scored. They should keep attacking instead of giving milan a chance to get back in the game.

  • Avatar
    BelgianJuventino December 23, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Oh damn, we lost this game? Bummer.

  • Avatar
    Sebastián Quiceno December 23, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    One quick comment about today´s final. Finals are not played, finals are won. Milan didn´t have pretty much anything else besides Suso´s crosses and that seemed enough to put us in trouble and aganist the ropes, I mean, Really? We sorely missed Pirlo and Bonucci a single clean long ball or thourgh pass for a striker to finish it could´ve been enough to put the game to bed and enjoy the first piece of Silverware.

    Let alone learning how to take PKs and use PK´s as an advantage, not a disadvantage. How come Gigi gives us the lead to put pressure on them to fail a 2nd PK and hand us the silver without even taking our 2nd PK and we blow it up ourselves? We just shot ourselves in the foot yet again, I mean cmon Mandzu, you can do a better job at PKs.

    A thing i have noticed is we (all of us without exception) talk too much about player names, positions, roles, characteristics. All of that amounts to empty talk when you don´t have rehearsed plays, I mean we can´t expect our players (even if they are stars) to rub a lamp and come up with a genius play out of thin air every single game, or even more than once in a game consistently.

    Chiello´s header was a Juve trademark goal a la Sergio Ramos but it was enough only for 1-0. Pjanic misfired his only free kick and that was it.

    Ball control, game control, techinque, pass accuracy, shots on target, all of that is superficial, useless, fancy, empty pundit talk when you can´t just finish off the games that matter.

  • Avatar
    Dar Black December 23, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    Oh well. Happily trade this cup for good progress in the CL. But we have to up our game. Too many games against the better sides are touch and go, with only a goal or so between us and opponents. We are definitely not making the assembled expensive talent and experienced players count in our favour as much as should be expected.

  • Avatar
    E.Micallef December 23, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    It is only my impression but we seemed a little bit tired today. However the game was played well by both teams and both had some good chances to close it. Olso injuries did hurt our coach plan. Just one question. Our players train all day all life how can we not have one winger left or right back that gives some decent crosses. Imagine having a player like suso for manzu.

    • Avatar
      Sebastián Quiceno December 23, 2016 at 11:05 pm

      Easy answer, buy Suso. 😛 just kidding, yes I wonder the same. Our crosses usually have no target or destination whatsoever and are launched just for the sake of it, just to get rid of the ball. Evidently we didn´t practice PKs either, it seems coaches have a mantra of not training PKs because they fear it might speak evil of them as coaches who don´t aim to win, thing is sometimes to win you have to do it in PKs. Thats a stupid myth or vice of all “pro” coaches.

      Buffon himself said it “”Pity, we led on penalties too…”” That´s two leads thrown away in a single tie, return leg at Allianz arena anyone? we had the lead there too, we have to work on that one.

  • Avatar
    Moderator December 23, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    Massively disappointed – Every trophy counts. Would have been the perfect way to sign off the year and end a successful 2016. Instead we;re left with that god awful performance. So much more is needed. 15 mins of decent football, followed by more injuries, us standing off and allowing Suso to run rings around Evra who was horrible to watch. We needed energy and invention in midfield – instead we got a lacklustre, half assed attempt to try and dictate the game. No impressed with the players at all – the defeat is on the. Allegri has done the best he can with the players he has fit and healthy – I saw a clip of him arguing with Paratici at the end, pointing at the pitch and bellowing. I suspect he was pointing our how tepid and tasteless our entire performance was.

    I could rant for hours,…..but instead i;ll wish you all a merry xmas and happy new year – 2017 beckons – New challenges await and we must be ready for them. FORZA JUVE!

    • Avatar
      Sebastián Quiceno December 23, 2016 at 11:09 pm

      I hope this defeat teaches us a lesson for futureUCL matches/finals.

      Thanks Rav for the good wishes. have a happy year end and also a good new year. Keep up the good work at JuveFC.

      • Avatar
        Moderator December 28, 2016 at 7:33 pm

        Cheers Seb ! Hope you had a great xmas and the new year brings you all you hope and wish for

    • Avatar
      Dar Black December 24, 2016 at 12:06 am

      Have a good one. Thanks for all your work on the blog this year, appreciate it (and TGP’s work too). No loss to me seeing the back of 2016, my worst year ever in life. Here is to 17…

      • Avatar
        Moderator December 28, 2016 at 7:32 pm

        Amen fratello – 2017 is a bigger, better year for us all

    • Avatar
      VonKellef December 24, 2016 at 5:58 am

      Thanks for this year, the years before and the years to come. Can’t express my gratitude enough. You have created a magical place for us to hang out. Merry Christmas and Happy New year to you as well.

      • Avatar
        Moderator December 28, 2016 at 7:32 pm

        Thank you for the kind words amico !